LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Premier Oil increased its 2019 production guidance on Thursday, saying output had been boosted by efficiency measures and a late sale from its now-divested Pakistan oil fields.
The company said it now expects output to reach 75,000 to 80,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) this year, from up to 75,000 boed previously.
Premier’s output has been buoyed in the past year by its flagship Catcher field in the British North Sea, where it expects to approve an expansion project later this quarter.
(For graphic on Premier Oil debt, click tmsnrt.rs/2EbmkS4)
The firm, which has a market capitalisation of around 750 million pounds, sat on net debt of $2.25 billion at the end of April.
It sees that shrinking by the upper end of a $250 million to $350 million range by the end of the year at current oil prices.
“With Brent (crude oil futures) trading above $70 a barrel, we anticipate sustained interest in Premier,” RBC analyst Al Stanton said.
The market remains focussed on Premier’s Zama discovery in Mexico, where it expects gross output to eventually reach as much as 175,000 boed. Results for a third appraisal well there are due in June.
In March Premier flagged a plan to submit a formal application for $800-$900 million in senior debt for its Sea Lion projects off the Falkland Islands in early May.
On Thursday it said the preparation of documents needed to secure funding for the project was “well advanced”.
Premier has hedged around 4 million barrels of oil at about $69 a barrel for the second half of 2019 to guard against sudden oil price drops, and around 1.6 million barrels at $66 a barrel for next year.
(For graphic on Premier Oil Production, click tmsnrt.rs/2Efu1aa)
Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Mark Potter and Jan Harvey